Articles Posted in Copyright Infringement

Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Christopher Sadowski of Hawthorne, New Jersey, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, VideoIndiana Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana, infringed its rights by publicly displaying a copy written photograph owned and registered by Plaintiff. Plaintiff is seeking damages, statutory damages, costs, expenses, attorneys’ fees, and pre-judgment interest and any other relief the court deem proper.

The photograph at issue in this case was taken by Sadowski at a protest outside of NBC Studios where Donald Trump was opening Saturday Night Live (the “Photograph”). On November 7, 2015, after licensing the Photograph from Sadowski, the New York Post ran an article that featured the Photograph and identified Sadowski as the photographer. The Photograph is registered with the United States Copryight Office and has the registration number VA 1-989-742.

Sadowski alleges that Defendant ran an article discussing Trump’s Saturday Night Live appearance using the Photograph without licensing the Photograph from him, constituting copyright infringement. The Plaintiff also claims that Defendant copied the Photograph from the New York Post article and removed the Plaintiff’s identifying information so as to conceal their infringement of the copyrighted photograph. For this claim, Plaintiff alleges they are entitled to costs, attorneys’ fees, gains and profits obtained by Defendant for the infringing use, or statutory damages ranging from $2,500.00 up to $25,000.00 per violation pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 1203(c)(3)

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Dexas International, Ltd. of Coppell, Texas filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Menard, Inc. of Eau Claire, Wisconsin infringed its rights in United States Copyright Registration No. VA 2-118-094 (“Dexas Cutting Board Photo”). Plaintiff is seeking costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees, injunctive relief, and post judgment interest.

A Dexas employee created an original art piece entitled “Dexas Cutting Board Photo” within the scope of hisDexas-v-Menard-BlogPhoto-300x113 employment in 2013 (the “Dexas Photo”). This art piece was for use in the product insert label for the Dexas cutting board. On April 4, 2018, Dexas applied for copyright registration for the Dexas Photo.

Dexas alleges that at least as of 2017, if not earlier, Menard began selling a “Collapsible Colander Cutting Board Set” with a label insert that includes the unauthorized copy of or derivative work based on the Dexas Photo. Further, Dexas believes Menard has manufactured, imported, published, sold, and/or distributed unauthorized copies of, or derivative works based upon the Dexas Photo and those were sold to consumers.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, The Trustees of Indiana University of Bloomington, Indiana,IU-v-MidAmerica-BlogPhoto filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Mid-America Publishing, Inc., of  Spencer, Indiana and Terry R. Self of  Spencer, Indiana, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration Numbers 1,713,815, 4,912,172, 1,705,521, 2,868,784, 1,728,274, and 4,925,141 (collectively the “IU Marks”). The IU Marks were all instituted at different times, the earliest of which were used as early as 1975, and have been continuously used to date. Indiana University advertises and promotes the IU Marks and has spent a substantial amount of money to make the IU Marks inherently distinctive and easily recognizable. Plaintiff is seeking injunctive relief, judgment including statutory damages, and attorneys’ fees.

As of the date of filing, Mid-America Publishing, Inc. (“Mid-America”) was and had been administratively dissolved since July 15, 2010, according to the Indiana Secretary of State. Mr. Self is the sole officer and owner of Mid-America and as such directs all acts of Mid-America including producing, promoting, and selling posters, calendars, cards, and other printed materials. Previously, Mid-America began selling a poster of the Indiana University (“IU”) Men’s Basketball team with a listing of the games for their upcoming season. These posters included one or more trademarks owned by IU. Mid-America would customize these posters for local companies for them to pass out to as free promotional items.

Up until April 2012, there was an informal understanding between IU and Mid-America regarding the posters and the use of their trademarks. The parties’ informal understanding was formalized in April of 2012 when they entered into a multi-year Marketing and Sponsorship Agreement. The use of the trademarks was non-exclusive and limited, and Mid-America agreed not to use any student-athlete’s name or likeness without advance written approval from IU’s Compliance Officer. Mid-America produced and sold the posters in accordance with this Agreement up until May 2, 2016 when IU informed Mid-America that it would not continue licensing to Mid-America. The term of the Agreement was extended by one year in which Mid-America was allowed to produce the poster for the 2016-2017 season, after it received approval for the artwork from IU.

While IU photographs its student-athletes for promoting its athletic programs and events, it has a policy to prohibit any profits being made from the use of a student-athlete’s name, image, or likeness by IU or any third party. IU filed an expedited application with the United States Copyright Office to register their 2017-2018 IU Student-Athlete Photographs on October 3, 2018. The application has been registered as VA0002121460, but a Certificate of Registration had not been received by the Plaintiff as of the filing of the Complaint.

On October 9, 2017, Mr. Self on behalf of Mid-America, submitted an Application for License Agreement to IU to use the IU Marks in producing the 2017-2018 Mid-America IU Basketball Poster. The Application did not request to use any student-athlete names or likenesses, and the Trademark License Agreement provided by IU for consideration did not contain any license for the same. Mid-America executed the Trademark License Agreement on October 28, 2017. IU did not execute the agreement as it learned that Mid-America was already selling unapproved 2017-2018 IU Basketball Posters including the IU Marks, IU Student-Athlete Photographs, and the names of the student-athletes. After numerous attempts to contact Mid-America to resolve the situation, IU contacted the printers that Mid-America fraudulently induced to print the unapproved posters. The printers ceased printing the posters, agreed to destroy any they had remaining in their possession, and gave a quantity for how many they had already printed and delivered to Mid-America.

Despite all of the communication that was ignored by Mid-America for the 2017-2018 IU Basketball Poster production, Mid-America began producing and offering for sale its 2018-2019 version on August 29, 2018. Further, they are producing a Hoops Hysteria Handbook, which includes the schedule of each Division 1 college in Indiana, including IU’s. The Handbook does contain IU Student-Athlete Photographs and is offered for “free” with each Mid-America IU Basketball Poster, but advertises may pay for their advertisement to be printed on the back for $0.20 per booklet. As such, IU is claiming, trademark infringement and counterfeiting, false and deceptive labeling, unfair competition, and copyright infringement.

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Richard N. Bell of McCordsville, Indiana filed a copyright infringement suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that David N. Powell, the executive director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (“IPAC”) infringed the “Indianapolis Nighttime Photo” ofBell-v-Powell-BlogPhoto-300x63 Richard Bell by using the photograph in a Spring Conference Brochure for the Midwest Regional Network for Intervention with Sex Offenders (“MRNISO”).  Last week the Southern District of Indiana District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt denied Bell’s Motion for Summary Judgment and granted Powell’s and MRNISO’s Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment in the case.
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Design Basics, LLC, Plan Pros, Inc. and Prime Designs, all of Omaha, Nebraska, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Kerstiens Homes & Designs, Inc., T-Kerstiens Homes Corp., Kerstiens Realty, Inc., Kerstiens Management Corp., Kerstiens Leasing Corp., Kerstiens Holding Corp., and Kerstiens Development Inc. infringed multiple copyrights of the Plaintiffs.Kerstiens-BlogPhoto-1

Plan Pros is in the business of licensing home designs to builders through Plaintiff Design Basics and other such brokers. Design Basics also designs their own home designs and licenses these as construction drawings that can be modified to fit the customer’s needs. Design Basics has published and distributed almost 200 home catalogs and other publications with their copyrighted home designs. For the seven home designs at issue in this case, Design Basics earned $25,000.00 in licensing fees from 116 licenses since 2009.

The Defendants filed summary judgment motions asserting that they were not in the business of building homes or creating house plans for the management and holding companies and that the Plaintiffs’ evidence did not support the elements of a copyright claim for the design and building companies. Further, the home and building companies asserted that they independently created the designs and the Plaintiffs did not show that they own the registrations for the copyrights at issue.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Gabriella Bass of Brooklyn, New York, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, COTR, LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana,  infringed her rights in United States Copyright Registration No. VA 2-055-082. Plaintiff is seeking damages, statutory damages, costs, expenses, attorneys’ fees, pre-judgment interest, and other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

The copyright at issue in this case is that for photographs of the fearless girl statue in New York City with the addition of a urinating dog. Bass licensed the photographs that she took to the New York Post. They subsequently ran an article featuring the photoblogphoto-288x300graphs on May 29, 2017 with Bass listed as the photographer. Following the release of the New York Post article, COTR ran an article on their website featuring Bass’ photographs. COTR, however, failed to license the photographs from Bass or obtain her permission or consent to publish the photographs in their article.

Bass is suing for copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. §§ 106 and 501 for COTR’s unauthorized use of her photographs. She is seeking damages and statutory damages for this violation for up to $150,000 per work infringed under 17 U.S.C. §504. Bass also alleges that COTR violated 17 U.S.C. § 1202(b) by removing copyright management information identifying Bass as the photographer. Statutory damages under this violation fall under 17 U.S.C. § 1203(c)(3) and amount to at least $2,500 up to $25,000 per violation.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiff and Attorney, Richard N. Bell of McCordsville, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Joan Mattox, infringed his rights to the “Indianapolis Photo” registered on August 4, 2011 with the U.S. Copyright Office, Registration No. VA0001785115.  Plaintiff is seeking actual and statutory damages, costs, reasonable attorney’s fees and other relief deemed just and proper.

Bell has filed many copyright infringement cases on his own behalf based on his copyrights. See:

In this case, Bell claims that Mattox created a website to promote her business in the Indianapolis area with the domain name of http://www.readymadestaffing.com/. The Defendant then used the Indianapolis Photo on the website to garner the attention of prospective customers. It is alleged that the Indianapolis Photo was displayed on the webpage on or about December 15, 2015 and was still being displayed as of the filing of the Complaint. Bell is suing for copyright infringement and vicarious liability for each third-party download of the Indianapolis Photo from the Mattox’s website. Bell claims that Mattox falsely claimed that Ready Made Resources owned all of the photos and images on their website and used the Indianapolis Photo commercially without paying for the use or obtaining authorization from the Plaintiff. Further, Bell alleges that the Defendant refuses to pay damages for the unauthorized use and has not agreed to be enjoined from further use of the Indianapolis Photo.

It is alleged that the Indianapolis Photo was displayed on the webpage on or about December 15, 2015 and was still being displayed as of the filing of the Complaint. Bell is suing for copyright infringement and vicarious liability for each third-party download of the Indianapolis Photo from the Mattox’s website. Bell claims that Mattox falsely claimed that Ready Made Resources owned all of the photos and images on their website and used the Indianapolis Photo commercially without paying for the use or obtaining authorization from the Plaintiff. Further, Bell alleges that the Defendant refuses to pay damages for the unauthorized use and has not agreed to be enjoined from further use of the Indianapolis Photo.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorney and Photographer Richard N. Bell of McCordsville, Indiana filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Halcyon Business Publications, Inc., of New York infringed his “Indianapolis Photo” which has been registered with the United States Copyright Office as Registration No. VA0001785115. After review of the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction which was filed on December 29, 2017 the court granted the Motion to Dismiss on May 24, 2018.

Bell, who has brought many similar lawsuits for infringement of his Indianapolis Photo, initially filed this case on November 29, 2017 alleging violations of the Lanham Act and copyright infringement. Halcyon claimed that the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over the company as they do not maintain any offices in the state, have no employees in the state, and have no assets in the state of Indiana. They did admHalcyon-BlogPhoto-300x66it that they hired one Indiana resident as an independent contractor to write for their publication, but that contractor did not write the article that utilized the Indianapolis Photo. Further, the total amounts of advertising sold to Indiana companies by Halcyon amounted to 3.26% and 4.55% in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and Indiana subscribers to the publication comprised less than 3% of their total subscribers.

Here, the Court must only look at whether the personal jurisdiction is consistent with the Federal Due Process Clause as Indiana’s long-arm statute is analyzed under this issue. For this, a defendant must have “minimum contacts” with the forum state and purposefully avail themselves “of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum [s]tate, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.” Asahi Metal Indus. Co. v. Super. Ct. of Cal., 480 U.S. 102, 109 (1987). This allows a defendant to reasonably anticipate being brought into a forum in a foreign jurisdiction.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorney Richard Bell of McCordsville, Indiana filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Amy Polston, infringed his rights to the “Indianapolis Photo” registered on August 4, 2011 with the US Copyright Office, Registration No. VA0001785115. Plaintiff is seeking actual and statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and any other relief as is just and proper.

Bell, who has filed numerous similar cases, took the Indianapolis Photo in March 2000. He subsequently posted the photo online in August 2000 and registered the photo with the US Copyright Office nearly 11 years later. Bell alleges that Polston used the Indianapolis Photo on a website she created to promote and advertise her business in the Indianapolis area. He further alleges that Polston falsely claimed to Trulia.com, the profile host, that shePolston-BlogPhoto owned the copyrights of all images and photographs used on her profile including the Indianapolis Photo. Bell asserts that Polston began using the Indianapolis Photo on her website beginning in 2014 without paying for the use or licensing the photo from him.

Plaintiff has filed this suit as Polston has refused to pay for the unauthorized use and has not agreed to be enjoined from using the Indianapolis Photo. As such, Bell claims that Polston is vicariously liable for each downloaded copy of the Indianapolis Photo by each third-party that downloaded it from her website. He also claims that she is liable for all profits resulting from these downloads and copyright infringement, even if she did not know that any use of the Indianapolis Photo would infringe Bell’s copyright.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Michel Keck of Jefferson Township, Owen County, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, John Mark Lawrence d/b/a Mark Lawrence Art Gallery of Alpharetta, Georgia, and DOES 1 through 25 infringed numerous pieces of artwork. Plaintiff is seeking judgment, actual damages, statutory damages, cost of litigation, and reasonable attorney’s fees.

Keck-BlogPhotoKeck is a successful abstract and mixed media artist. She opened an online art gallery and her own fine art publishing company in 2006. Over 1,500 of her original paintings had sold by the end of 2006 to art collectors throughout the world. Keck has registered 22 original paintings (the “Works”) with the United States Copyright Office.

Defendant Lawrence gave an interview in 2009 stating that he creates his art by digitally manipulating existing images using Photoshop and other such computer programs. In April 2014, Keck was approached by an online distributor, Framed Canvas Art, and was given Lawrence’s contact information as a reference. In response to Keck’s email seeking information about the distributor, Lawrence stated, “I just took a look at your art – wow! You have a new fan.” Over three years later in September 2017, Keck found numerous art pieces for sale attributed to Lawrence that appeared to be unauthorized derivatives of her Works. It looked as though Lawrence would take one of Keck’s Works and then mirror or rotate it before running it through a computerized filter (creating “Unauthorized Derivative Works”).

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